Note: I am not an attorney, and you should not consider this legal advice. This is Self Defense 101 for interacting with the music industry.
It pains me as a musician to suggest the ways on how you can purchase high quality music, buy beats online, for a low price. Yet, it’s obvious that you want to get the highest profit with your work for the least amount of buck. Also, $500,000 (i.e. for an ad campaign) seems a little pricey when you simply want to introduce the music into the beginning of your work or set it as the background of your music.
So, something you might want to know when you buy beats online is that you can get some really high quality beats for cheap–if only because the musician simply doesn’t know what he’s doing in the music publishing realm.
Buy Beats Online: Introduction
So, we’re going to discuss two main things when you buy beats online: 1) What you actually purchase and 2) Where you can purchase these high-quality beats. These are the two fundamentals toward getting the beats that you want. I’m going to cover #1 for now and link you to number two in an upcoming post.
I’m not saying that other publishers and writers don’t know what they’re talking about (they do), it’s just that most of what I’ve seen takes the music publishers into account, but it doesn’t take you into account.
Music publishers pushing for higher rates on their end doesn’t exactly take you into account, does it?
Buy Beats Online: What Are You REALLY Purchasing?
You MUST know what the hell you’re buying. That is, you want to know what you’re buying if you want to avoid the chance of a huge lawsuit should your creative work go big. You need to know what rights you have with the music you purchase, even though it can get a little technical.
You might buy a license for:
- Personal Use License- (i.e. iTunes) In this license, you cannot redistribute this for a public performance or sale of any kind (Note: Mechanical License for Alterations)
- A Mechanical License – In this license, you can alter the beats the person has made while keeping the initial integrity of the song)
- A work-for-hire license – In this license, You pay a flat fee and the song is (usually) completely yours
- A step deal – This, like the inadvertently created deal above, dictates that you pay the musician in amounts that elevate according to certain milestones you reach… let’s say that you purchase the beats to the song and you pay a certain royalty… then your music or your film his the box office for billions of dollars and rapes the world record a new one… according to the deal, you’ll need to pay something like “$10K bonus for every million made.”
Ensure that I, the music publisher, haven’t registered the songs I created via work-for-hire to ASCAP. This is because an ASCAP registered song doesn’t honor a work-for-hire agreement. And if you think you’ll commercialize an ASCAP-registered song without paying fees, you’ve got a surprise coming for you, per ASCAP’s site.
Also, according the music industry expert Randall Wixen in his book The Plain and SImple Guide to Music Publishing he notes frequently the power of performing rights organizations frequently.
By the way, as a music publisher, that would be cool if I could step up my income up based on your success.
For example, let’s say you make Avatar and “gross” $1,000,000,000 in revenue.
$1,000,000,000 => $1000 Million => 1000 x $10,000 = $10,000,000 you pay to me because of how awesomely successful you are.
Even though $10,000,000 is 1% of your revenue (note the chart below) and $10,000,000 has two fewer zeroes than the overall revenue from Avatar it’s still a huge chunk of money.
Sure, it seems fair that my awesome music helped make your movie what it is. But let’s face it. $10,000,000′s a rather big sum of money that you pay to me, right?
Well, even though I deserve the money or I feel that I deserve it (you know, because I created that kick-ass music/set of beats that helped you make your blockbuster hit)—even though I feel I deserve the money–you’ll get a much better deal by using a work-for-hire agreement with me.
And as we said before, the work-for-hire agreement means that you get to keep full rights to the music (usually), no questions asked.
You’d also make sure that the music you retrieve from me is NOT ASCAP registered–otherwise ASCAP will come aknocking for the royalties for:
- Movie theater presentations (or a percentage of the revenue) and
- the DVD sales royalties.
Just because you’ve drafted the work-for-hire agreement doesn’t mean that you can’t put royalty agreements or pay me, the musician, when your move turns into the blockbuster.
Buy Beats Online: License Recap
So, to recap, to save money, make sure that
- Whatever work you want from me is NOT ASCAP-registered
Draft a work-for-hire agreement where you gain 100% ownership of my work (or some variation that allows me some ownership… which’d be more fair)
Buy Beats Online: Conclusion
What could it cost you not to learn the material above and make sure you know what you purchase? If you said, “It’d cost me big time,” I’d agree with you very much.
Look forward to seeing your awesome music with my work on the big screen. Just consider sending a royalty… even if the government doesn’t ask you to! It’s the music writers that give depth and vision to your work.
“Music is the most visual communication.”